Connections Through Time, Issue 18:
January - March 2003
"What a coincidence," Mary said as she hugged Pat. "Aren't you still working across town." They met in line at the coffee shop on the ground floor of a tall office building.
"Yeah, this morning I'm meeting with some new clients on the 16th floor," said Pat. "I'm too early to go up, so I thought I'd read the paper."
"And I'm meeting Jim here and then we're giving a presentation to a company across the street," Mary said. "How are you doing?"
"Doin' fine." Pat said. "You know that our meeting was not a chance coincidence, don't you?"
"No such thing as a coincidence - I've heard that a 1000 times. And yet, chance does exist, so why shouldn't coincidences." Mary did not end that sentence as a question, but as a matter of fact, at least in her mind.
"Why do you think chance exists?" Pat asked.
"Are you serious - just go to Las Vegas," Mary said incredulously. "Or, what about that poor kid who just got killed by that drunken driver? That little girl was walking home from school... Chance and accidents happen all the time." Mary was getting quite upset as she spoke.
"Hey...what's the matter?" Pat asked.
"That little girl was a neighbor of ours...I knew her...her name was Samantha...I went to her funeral." Mary's eye's welled up with tears."
"I'm so sorry."
"Jim and I are planning on having children and this accident really scared us," Mary said. "If I lost a child in an accident ..." She couldn't finish.
"I know, I know," Pat said. "Any intellectual discussion is so shallow compared to the emotions involved with issues like this...and that's how it should be. Life is so important, so precious, that it may be impossible to understand the accidental death of a child."
"So you do agree that accidents happen?" Mary asked almost rhetorically.
"Well," Jim said, "things happen which appear to be accidental..."
"Okay, okay - I'm ready to listen," Mary said as she wiped her eyes and then looked at Pat. She respected Pat enough to at least try to understand his point of view.
"Look," Pat said. "the pain of losing a child will always be there. I don't want to live in a world where parents and friends are not attached to each other by love and caring. It is this side of us that is being cheated when we say accidents happen by chance."
"Huh," was all that Mary could say.
"You remember when we did our RV experiment and pretty much proved, to ourselves at least, that precognition is a reality and we can still retain our free will. Precognition happens, and so some parts of the future are knowable in advance - even when pure chance 'seems' to be involved." Pat strongly emphasized 'seems'.
"What does precognition have to do with any of this?"
Pat smiled and said, "Everything, because the connection with the future is what keeps the world from being purely random and chaotic. You see, a part of each of us knows the future and the choices we will make. A deep part of us participated in planning this future. We cheat ourselves when we don't acknowledge our responsibility in creating our future. We cheat ourselves when we blame chance - when we use chance as an excuse. You see, I've come to believe that we all have deep spiritual connections with each other and the future. We somehow create our own future."
"Come on now, you're saying chance is an excuse to avoid the spiritual, I don't ..." Mary stopped mid-sentence, stood up and waved to her husband who just walked in.
"Hey Pat, how's it going?" Jim said as he walked over to them and gave Mary a warm kiss.
Mary couldn't wait to bring Jim into the conversation, "Pat is trying to get me to believe that Samantha caused her own death!"
Without thinking, Jim said, "Only if she were God."
Mary sat down with a big sigh. "You're no help." And tears began to form again.
"I'm so sorry," Pat said, "Let's drop the subject."
Jim sat down and held Mary's hand. "Samantha's death was a real tragedy, one of those freak accidents."
"Right, right, that's what I've been trying to get Pat to understand, but he says there are no coincidences, no chance events. That's ridiculous," said Mary.
"Are you okay?" Jim looked at Mary and felt her sadness.
"I'm fine," Mary said, "and I don't want to drop the subject. Do accidents occur, or not?" She looked right at Jim.
"Oh boy," Jim said. "this type of question should not be answered with a simple 'yes' or 'no'."
"And why not," Mary asked with an angry edge in her voice?
"Honey, honey, this is related to our 'Does God exist' never ending discussion," Jim said. Mary was the agnostic and Jim was constantly searching for a definition which would fit his sense of something worthy of the name God.
"Your bringing up God again... you said something about Samantha being God. I think you're losing it!" Mary said.
"Oh my God," Pat chimed in as he took a folded piece of paper from his pocket. "This is another weird coincidence. I printed this out last night because it seemed so meaningful - let me read it to you, and then I have to go to my meeting."
Mary and Jim clearly needed a break from their rapidly heating up conversation, so they both gave Pat a reluctant nod to proceed.
"Okay, the title of the story is Meeting God," Pat then read the story.
There once was a little boy who wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with Twinkies and a six-pack of root beer and he started his journey.
When he had gone about 3 blocks, he met an old woman. She was sitting in the park just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to her and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old lady looked hungry, so he offered her a Twinkie.
She gratefully accepted it and smiled at him. Her smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered her a root beer. Once again she smiled at him. The boy was delighted!
They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word. As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was and got up to leave, but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old woman and gave her a hug. She gave him the biggest smile ever.
When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face.
She asked him, "What did you do today that made you so happy?"
He replied, "I had lunch with God." But before his mother could respond, he added, "You know what? She's got the most beautiful smile I've ever seen!"
Meanwhile, the old woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home. Her son was stunned by the look of peace on her face and he asked, "Mother, what did you do today that made you so happy?"
She replied, "I ate Twinkies in the park with God." But before her son responded, she added, "You know, He is much younger than I expected."
"Yes, a beautiful story," Mary said, "but what does that have to do with coincidences and accidents?" She looked at Pat.
"These stories can't be intellectually explained," Pat said. "They are intended to be emotionally felt... intuitively appreciated."
"For me," Mary said, "please explain."
Pat paused a moment, then said, "We are each God in the sense that we are all connected as One. I believe that is the greatest spiritual teaching - We are One. We usually place God out there, away from us. If and when we're feeling Oneness, then there are no accidents, if you're in your more normal state, then 'shit happens'. Try this analogy - when in a state of Oneness, we simultaneously experience being the puppeteer and the puppet - there can be no distinction. We are the creator of all that we experience - there can be no distinction."
Pat stood up, " I believe that Samantha was feeling Oneness when she died. She appreciated how Her death fit into Her scheme, even though we don't." Pat went over to Mary and gave her a hug, " I do have to go. I'll call you guys and we'll make some plans to get together soon."
As Pat walked out of the restaurant, Mary turned to Jim and said, "Well that would be comforting, if I believed it. But how can anyone seriously believe that each of us is God?" Mary asked.
Jim smiled and said, "Pat believes it, but I don't think as literally as you are taking it. His personal experiences with remote viewing convinced him that he is capable of connecting to anything in the universe. This is where he gets his sense of there being Oneness. He believes he is simply tapping in to part of himself. He also believes that most humans are, or at least were as children, capable of doing the same connecting."
"Well my RVing doesn't convince me that I'm connected to everything, but I haven't been doing it for as long as you two, " Mary said. "Do you agree with him?"
"Yes and no," Mary groaned and Jim continued, "It's difficult because I do feel there are connections between everything in our universe...that's basically what I mean when I say 'universe'. If I could not be connected to something, even in principle, then it is not part of my universe. So, I do have a sense of a completely connected universe that leads to something like 'oneness'. On the other hand, that doesn't mean that I want to assign the word 'God' to a hypothetical state called 'oneness', a state that I have never experienced and don't know for sure even exists."
"What is this state of Oneness supposed to be like?" Mary asked.
"I guess it's what all the mystics refer to as the ultimate goal of meditation, prayer, etc. This is nirvana, an experience of bliss, wisdom and compassion - yet it is an experience which is unattached to anything. A place where you seem to disappear and blend with everything."
Mary said, "I don't want to disappear and I don't want the responsibility of being God."
"Well, you don't have to do either. Hey, see you are God, you are getting exactly what you want, " said Jim with a little laugh. He looked at his watch and said. We need to go to our meeting.
Mary and Jim had a baby 9 months later. Pat continues to apply his RV and teaches comparative theology at a local college. They all live happily ever after.
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